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    Ex Vivo Exposure of Human Melanoma Tissue to Cold Physical Plasma Elicits Apoptosis and Modulates Inflammation
    (Basel : MDPI, 2020) Bekeschus, Sander; Moritz, Juliane; Helfrich, Iris; Boeckmann, Lars; Weltmann, Klaus-Dieter; Emmert, Steffen; Metelmann, Hans-Robert; Stoffels, Ingo; von Woedtke, Thomas
    Cutaneous melanoma is the most aggressive type of skin cancer with a not-sufficient clinical outcome. High tumor mutation rates often hamper a remedial treatment, creating the need for palliative care in many patients. To reduce pain and burden, local palliation often includes cryo-ablation, immunotherapy via injection of IL2, or electrochemotherapy. Yet, a fraction of patients and lesions do not respond to those therapies. To reach even these resistances in a redox-mediated way, we treated skin biopsies from human melanoma ex vivo with cold physical plasma (kINPen MED plasma jet). This partially ionized gas generates a potent mixture of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Physical plasmas have been shown to be potent antitumor agents in preclinical melanoma and clinical head and neck cancer research. The innovation of this technology lies in its ease-of-use without anesthesia, as the “cold” plasma temperature of the kINPen MED does not exceed 37 °C. In metastatic melanoma skin biopsies from six patients, we identified a marked increase of apoptosis with plasma treatment ex vivo. This had an impact on the chemokine/cytokine profile of the cultured biopsies, e.g., three of six patient-derived biopsy supernatants showed an apparent decrease in VEGF compared to non-plasma treated specimens. Moreover, the baseline release levels of 24 chemokines/cytokines investigated may serve as a useful tool for future research on melanoma skin biopsy treatments. Our findings suggest a clinically useful role of cold physical plasma therapy in palliation of cutaneous melanoma lesions, possibly in a combinatory setting with other immune therapies.
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    Medical Gas Plasma Treatment in Head and Neck Cancer—Challenges and Opportunities
    (Basel : MDPI, 2020) Berner, Julia; Seebauer, Christian; Sagwal, Sanjeev Kumar; Boeckmann, Lars; Emmert, Steffen; Metelmann, Hans-Robert; Bekeschus, Sander
    Despite progress in oncotherapy, cancer is still among the deadliest diseases in the Western world, emphasizing the demand for novel treatment avenues. Cold physical plasma has shown antitumor activity in experimental models of, e.g., glioblastoma, colorectal cancer, breast carcinoma, osteosarcoma, bladder cancer, and melanoma in vitro and in vivo. In addition, clinical case reports have demonstrated that physical plasma reduces the microbial contamination of severely infected tumor wounds and ulcerations, as is often seen with head and neck cancer patients. These antimicrobial and antitumor killing properties make physical plasma a promising tool for the treatment of head and neck cancer. Moreover, this type of cancer is easily accessible from the outside, facilitating the possibility of several rounds of topical gas plasma treatment of the same patient. Gas plasma treatment of head and neck cancer induces diverse effects via the deposition of a plethora of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species that mediate redox-biochemical processes, and ultimately, selective cancer cell death. The main advantage of medical gas plasma treatment in oncology is the lack of adverse events and significant side effects compared to other treatment modalities, such as surgical approaches, chemotherapeutics, and radiotherapy, making plasma treatment an attractive strategy for the adjuvant and palliative treatment of head and neck cancer. This review outlines the state of the art and progress in investigating physical plasma as a novel treatment modality in the therapy of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.